Court fines Moldovan deacon for allegedly sprinkling Holy Water on LGBT activist

Anenii Noi, Moldova, August 21, 2018

Persecution against Orthodox Christians and their rites has begun in Moldovan courts, at least according to one deacon who was fined recently by courts in the east-central city of Anenii Noi in a controversy surrounding the use of Holy Water.

Deacon Gennady Valutse, the head of the Pro Ortodoxia organization, was found guilty of “incitement to discrimination based on beliefs and signs of sexual orientation” for sprinkling Holy Water on LGBT activist Angela Frolova and fined about $715, reports Interfax-Religion.

“Persecution has begun. Lying has been legalized. There’s a video where it’s clear that I didn’t sprinkle Holy Water on this lesbian. But DPM [Democratic Party of Moldova—O.C.] justice was, to the joy of liberals and LGBT creditors, on their side. That’s how it will be with everyone who won’t tolerate sin. We’ll be getting prison sentences soon. But we will not give up,” Dcn. Gennady commented.

Legal action against the deacon began in 2014, when, during a lively on-air dispute, he allegedly sprinkled Holy Water on the girl, which he said would “help drive the impure spirits out of all representatives of the LGBT community.”

According to All Moldova, Dcn. Gennady tells a different version of the story. As he recalls, he participated in a television program during which the topic of homosexuality was raised. At the end of the broadcast, he addressed a statement to representatives of the LGBT community that they considered discriminatory. The deacon later took part in an event sprinkling Holy Water on the route previously taken by an LGBT parade.

Frolova, representing the GenderDoc-M organization, considered this discrimination, inasmuch as she is not an Orthodox Christian, and she appealed to the courts. In turn, Dcn. Gennady filed an application with the courts showing that clergy cannot be held responsible for so-called discrimination. He stressed that the decision would create a dangerous precedent, leading to all clergy being held accountable for calling sin a sin and referring to people as sinners.

In the end, the courts sided with Frolova and fined the deacon 5,000 leu ($298) for moral damages and 7,000 leu ($418) for legal costs.

Dcn. Gennady has announced his intention to appeal the court’s decision. Pro Ortodoxia’s lawyer Radu Bushile has commented that the court’s decision is unfounded and insulting to religious beliefs, arguing that the road sprinkled with Holy Water is public domain and thus everyone has the right to hold events there. Moreover, he argued that Dcn. Gennady’s statement was in no way discriminatory. In his view, the court’s decision has trampled on the freedom of speech.

In a similar story, Fr. Oleg Mokryak, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Odessa, cleansed the city streets with Holy Water on Saturday following an LGBT Pride parade.

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